Spending in a recession...
So the other class of makers I've been looking at are the "single cup coffee makers." These take as input water and a powder (or concentrated liquid) packet and output a cup of coffee within a minute. There seem to be three major vendors of these, Flavia, Keurig, and Tassimo. Flavia appears to distribute mainly via the Internet/mail order. We had a bunch of Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons and were in the mood to get one today, so we drove over to BB&B to select one. BB&B has a "special edition" Keurig which has a smaller water reservoir than their other models, but is ~$50 cheaper, so we went with that.
The major tradeoffs between the Keurig and the Tassimo appear to be that the Keurig can brew regular coffee with a special filter/adapter and has slightly less expensive "K-Cup" flavor packets, whereas the Tassimo has a charcoal filter, smaller sized flavor packets, a deal with Starbucks to supply some coffee, and the ability to brew espresso and cappucino. Cheaper per-cup expenses (~50¢/ 8oz cup) and the fact that we're just fine buying charcoal filters for our Brita lead us to the Keurig. I figure if I want cappucino, I can walk the 2 blocks to any of the several coffee shops on Main street in Tarrytown.
End result: we have made a few drinks with the Keurig, and are quite happy with it. I made a medium cup of cocoa with the included packet for basic cocoa. It was a little weak and watery, which is to be expected for my tastes, because I exclusively make powerdered hot cocoa with milk. Nevertheless, it was drinkable, and at some point I'll order the fancier Ghirardelli "K-Cup." Shprese has been happy with the coffee it brews, so I consider the purchase a success.